Is Şifr Broken? (1st place Red Raccoon SC Jan 21st)

Hari 76

Got a chance to try out Sifr in a SC and it worked out about as expected. Went 5-1 with the deck on the day, beating NEH fast-advance twice, Gagarin, ETF, and PE and losing to ETF in a game where I played really stupidly. Faced multiple Ark Lockdowns in 4/6 of my games and it still didn't matter. As for the deck...

Card draw: 3 I've Had Worse, 3 Inject, and 3 Street Peddlers. One of the biggest problems Sifr+Clone Chip+Parasite has is that it's multiple cards and thus can take a while to setup. You want to go through your deck as quickly as possible so you want a ton of cheap draw/selection. Street Peddler is great with Parasite and also Clot but it does mean we need to cut down on events thus no Dirty Laundry (also deck slots). Do be careful though and remember that Ark Lockdown is a card. You should pretty much never pass the turn with 2 of any of your programs in the heap and you'll be fine.

Breakers: 2 Paperclip, 2 Black Orchestra, 2 MKUltra, 2 D4v1d. Playing Inject and to a lesser extent Street Peddler makes the heap breakers also a necessity. Not having Yog and sometimes Mimic does hurt a bit but it's hard to justify them with this card draw engine. D4v1d doesn't seem necessary with Sifr but it helps you to go faster allowing to run safely into a lot of things without a full setup (it can be great to get ICE rezzed without getting punished, allowing you to Sifr without needing to use a Clone Chip, your best card) and it can help you get through some tough ICE later in the game when you're out of Clone Chips. The heap breakers (except Paperclip) suck to use most of the time (although get a bit better with Cyberfeeder) but they're not meant to be used that often unless necessary. The threat of them is what helps you to remote lock and sometimes you do end up installing and using them, but then it's usually worth it. Also with Sifr it's more manageable as you can start breaking subs immediately so no wasted pumps.

Other Programs: 2 Medium, 1 Clot. 2 Mediums in standard Anarch dig for a reason. When I was testing the deck I ran into a fair amount of CI so I wanted Clot but it's good against a number of things. With 3 Street Peddler and 3 Clone Chips, it's easy enough to use, even for an Anarch deck. You never want to Clone Chip it back, but when you have to, it's pretty much always worth it.

The Combo: 3 Sifr, 3 Clone Chips, 3 Parasite. I wouldn't cut any of these. In my finals game against NEH I trashed a Sifr when I installed a Salsette off of Street Peddler. I had everything setup and literally had to dig through my entire deck to get another (having already trashed 1 Deja and used another) Sifr as my remaining two Sifrs were the last 2 cards in my deck. I lost a ton of tempo because of this and almost lost the game. You want to play 3 because you need to get it pretty early to get going. 3 Clone Chips is a ton of influence but it's absolutely worth it. It's your best card by far. It might seem like this influence should be more economy, but the Clone Chips are really a ton of economy and tempo rolled into 1 card.

Economy and Other: 1 Employee Strike. This card is great against a lot of decks. I'd like to play 2 of them but there's just no influence and increasing events is always risky with Peddlers. You could consider cutting a D4v1d for one if you really wanted but it feels super awkward only playing 1 D4v1d. 2 Salsette Slums. I was super happy to be playing this, almost everyone is playing Friends in High Places right now. I considered cutting one before the tournament but I'd definitely recommend sticking with 2. Installed in almost all of my games. 3 Daily Casts, 3 Liberated Account, 3 Sure Gamble, 1 Cyberfeeder. The only noteworthy card here is Cyberfeeder. I decided on playing 1 because I wanted a little more economy and it isn't useless on a Peddler. This card is actually amazing in this deck. You install so many Parasites, Medium, and you have expensive breakers. If I saw this in the top half or sometimes even top 2/3's of my deck (this deck draws really quickly) I'd almost always install it and it always netted me a bunch of credits. Don't knock it till you try it, I'm sure you'll be surprised. It's actually possible that 2 is the right number, although I wouldn't go above that for obvious reasons.

So yeah, that's the deck. The gameplan is the standard lock remotes and then make big R&D run turns by trashing their difficult ICE. I'm pretty sure that this, or something very close to this, is the Runner deck to beat right now, so I'd suggest you give it a try.

22 Jan 2017 Hari

Forgot to mention the two Deja Vu. I originally played 3 but I think 2 is the right number. The dream is to Deja two Parasites but that doesn't come up as often as you want (largely due to playing around Ark Lockdown) although you can still do it some reasonable amount of the time. Many times you end up getting back Employee Strike Clone Chip.

22 Jan 2017 Danthulhu

Can cyberfeeder pay the install costs of the conspiracy breakers? ie are you "using" the first ability

22 Jan 2017 Hari

Haha that's funny, I'd never thought of that. I wouldn't think so though, since to me it's just an install cost, but it's true that it's also a triggered ability from the breaker (like using Femme), so I can't say I'm certain.

22 Jan 2017 Erik_Twice

Honest question...what would you play against this? I was trying CI but Clot makes thigns difficult :/

22 Jan 2017 Hari

@Erik_Twice Well, first let's acknowledge that I think most of us are functioning under the assumption that Sifr is too strong and will probably get nerfed eventually, so in truth I really do think this deck has too many good match-ups. That being said, there are a few decks I'd consider as having the best match-ups:

SYNC - SYNC has been good against Whizzard/Anarch for a while. This deck is much better against SYNC than previous Whiz decks were, but I still think it's probably around a 50/50 match-up (I'm specifically referring to this SYNC deck,) maybe slightly favored towards SYNC even. Admittedly though, my testing of this vs SYNC was this deck before it had Clot. Clot certainly helps this match-up so it's possible that it's actually in Whiz's favor now.

CI - I have absolutely no idea how the CI match-up is now with Clot in the deck, like I said I have 0 testing of that at this point (I added Clot in only a couple days before the tournament and didn't see anymore CI from then onward, although I was still happy with Clot). Normally I'd think CI is good against this deck but it's possible that it's a lot different with Clot.

IG - I mentioned in the Reddit thread that this deck is definitely favored against Gagarin but I don't have any experience playing it against IG. I am Whizzard and have two Slums, so no matter what it can't be that bad, but we do only play 1 Estrike so if we get behind we can definitely lose. I'd say that match-up is also around 50/50 and just depends on the draws of the two decks, moreso the Runner deck than anything.

PU - I played PU 5 times with this deck in testing and had 2 wins, 3 losses. I didn't have much experience playing against PU before this though so I played far from optimally. I'm not really sure how the match-up should really be, but I think this is also a decent Corp option against this deck.

It's worth mentioning though that you can easily improve some of these match-ups by customizing the deck a bit. Replace 2 D4v1ds with 2 more Employee Strikes and you should have a good match-up against IG and CI although your match-up against "fair" decks will get a bit worse (still favorable though) - not all of them, CtM will obviously get even better. I didn't make these changes because I anticipated more "fair" decks at an SC than stuff like IG or CI. You can greatly improve the PU match-up by including 1 Trope, which you easily have the memory for. If I made the above changes as well, I'd cut a Street Peddler for a Trope. If I was just making the Trope change and not the Employee Strike change, I'd cut the Cyberfeeder for Trope.

22 Jan 2017 Hari

@Erik_Twice I forgot to mention though, really only play SYNC if you're sure to be facing this deck or other Anarchs and nothing else. SYNC has traditionally had a pretty bad match-up against Shapers who are all playing Film Critic and NACH. And now Criminals have Aaron, which if they get early, you just cannot win unless they do something stupid like playing into HHN. So overall, with my uncertainty of how Clot affects the match-up combined with the rest of SYNC's bad match-ups, I would probably not recommend it.

23 Jan 2017 EnderA

@HariYeah, with the release of Aaron, I ditched my SYNC deck. Easy paid ability speed tag removal makes the Criminal matchup impossible. (Plus all those Power Taps some are running.) It's even rough as Russian NEH, just because you give them tons of free cards.

Would you consider switching Plascrete Carapace into Sports Hopper? I think it'd be great for the IG49 matchup partly in countering a rezzed Chairman Hiro after using Sifr. Salsette Slums is good vs IG49 but mostly for countering Friends in High Places. Hopper forces them to rely on attrition, giving you time to trash everything with Slums/EStrike.

Once the meta adapts to Sifr as best it can (becoming Asset Spam/Fast Advance/Rush/Combo/Kill and no Glacier,) I'd make the following changes (most of which you mentioned already:)

-1 Plascrete Carapace, -2 D4v1d, maybe -1 I've Had Worse?

+1 Sports Hopper, +1 Employee Strike, +1 Clot, +1 Faust

The +1 Faust instead of one of the EStrikes is for busting through gearchecks early (which will become more important IMO as people transition to cheap ICE.)

23 Jan 2017 Hari

@EnderA Yeah, as the meta adapts if you expect to see a lot of IG49, that would be a fine change. Sports Hopper is so much worse against Boom! though. Like against SYNC, if they 24/7, you're forced to pop Hopper. They'll be prepared for this, so then they'll just do something like Closed Accounts + EoI or Observe and Destroy your Sifr. That's a lot worse than them being forced to deal with Plascrete. So it really just depends. Aaron should probably hate a lot of kill decks out of the meta, so if kill decks become less common and asset spam becomes more common (which is a likely outcome with Sifr around), it would be a reasonable change. Currently though, I've been encountering a lot more kill than IG so for now I'm happy with the Plascrete over Sports Hopper.

23 Jan 2017 EnderA

@HariYeah, if you're dealing with lots of 24/7 News Cycle/BOOM! it's substantially worse. I guess I'm teching against IG since I'm playing IG, lol. I've only played it a little, but I got a sweet turn 3 kill on a Sifr Whizzard. It came down to me having exactly the credits (and installed cards) I needed and them having slightly too few credits. Installing Slums ironically cost them the game.

Out of curiosity, what corp deck are you playing? Clearly it did well against the meta!

23 Jan 2017 Saan

Clone Chip is a busted card paired with Şifr and Parasite, but I'd actually consider dropping one Clone Chip to fit in a Yog, a Faust, and a second Employee Strike (also remove the Cyber Cypher and the second copy of Black Orchestra). Faust helps like crazy with random gear checks, and Şifr is also broken as shit when paired with Yog. Second Emp strike is nice, but mainly just rounds out inf.

23 Jan 2017 Saan

Oh, also, yes, you can use Cyber Cypher to pay for the installation of the conspiracy breakers, so long as you're doing it from the heap. Since it's card text that allows you to do it, it counts as an ability. It's not a situation that comes up often, but is fun when it does =)

23 Jan 2017 IceFalcon14

I played a variant of this deck at the same SC, taking 3rd overall (i was the Gagarin Corp that got thrashed by slums), and did play against IG. sadly, I didn't see an employee strike until super late, and they had currents to override it. I played Bhagat, and was able to almost kill them, and only won due to winning 2 psi games on my last turn. So the deck is decent against IG.

23 Jan 2017 Hari

@EnderA Heh, well similarly to how you're concerned with IG because you're playing it, I was concerned with 24/7 Boom! because I was playing SYNC (I didn't post the list because it was just card for card the second place Worlds list). I was playing that but I won't be going forward. I had picked it up a little while ago expecting the meta to be all Sifr Whizzard without Clot (I do consider this to be a pretty good match-up) but a couple days before the SC all I saw on Jnet was Criminal with Aaron. At that point I didn't have enough practice time left to want to switch decks so I just rode it out the hoped for the best. At the SC I saw 2 decks with Aaron, one I just got crushed (my only Corp loss) and the other played too aggressively and I was able to land HHN. Going forward I'm not sure what I'd play. Probably IG, CI, or PU.

@Saan I tested Yog and Faust. Faust is a legitimate plan going forward as the meta should adapt to playing mostly cheap gear checks. I didn't expect the meta to have evolved that much yet so I didn't play Faust. Yog, on the other hand, is underwhelming. First of all, it's less consistent because you can't draw it very easily - your best draw, Inject, trashes it, you can Peddler it but there are so many things you want off of Peddler (Parasite, Clot, Clone Chip, Cyberfeeder, Slums, econ, even holding Plascrete is great against some decks) that you really prefer not having to install a breaker off of it. And you don't want to Deju Vu it because you'd rather use those on Parasite, Medium, Estrike, and Clone Chip. Retrieval Run is clunky and definitely not a great additional event with Peddlers. Overall I didn't find the added efficiency Yog sometimes brings to be worth the difficulty of using it in this deck.

24 Jan 2017 EnderA

@HariI've been playing around with this deck a bit, and I've come to the conclusion that Faust is very strong here, particularly early game. One neat trick is to discard a conspiracy breaker with Faust after they rez an ice (boosting strength, but it's immediately reset since you're not breaking ice yet) and then install it from the heap on-encounter, essentially installing a conspiracy breaker from hand mid-run.

Alternatively, simply discarding a breaker/extra copy of Sifr/Slums/Plascrete in an irrelevant match, or even a Parasite while you have Clone Chip out are all good value. Even just as a 1-of, it's really good. It makes early game running safer and more efficient. If you hit it with Inject it's still potentially useful with Clone Chip in emergencies.

Once the meta adapts, I'd consider going up to 2-of, but the only realistic cut would be the extra Employee Strike, going down to 1, which is dicey. Maybe replace the spare with a Rumor Mill, but then you'd need to cut another card, and slots are very tight...

24 Jan 2017 Hari

@EnderA Glad to hear the Faust addition is working out for you. Like I said, I tested it and found it fine, I just didn't find that I needed it consistently and I didn't like it getting hit by Inject. I would definitely not rely on Rumor Mill as the current though, it's really just bad right now. No one should be playing glacier, you crush those decks anyway, and everyone plays around it with Jackson regardless.

25 Jan 2017 codychilton13

@Erik_Twice you just combo out with a cyberdex installed and use an interns or something to reinstall it to kill a sac con or something. Try Hasty CI, I haven't lost a game on jnet with it yet.

28 Jan 2017 EnderA

Another thing I realized recently - Déjà Vu is often best used on Clone Chip, not Parasite. One paid ability speed Parasite is often better than 2 slow Parasites, and definitely better than 1.